Murder suspects escaped Lerdo by cutting hole in ceiling, report says

Crime Watch

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The two men charged with murder in the shooting death of 3-year-old Major Sutton escaped Lerdo Jail by cutting a hole in the ceiling of their cell, climbing to the roof then sliding down a flagpole, a court filing says.

The filing marks the first time the hole in the ceiling has been publicly reported in the April 28 escape of David Palms and Tyrone Johnson. The document doesn’t say what was used to cut the hole.

Sheriff Donny Youngblood has previously said the two slid down a flagpole to get away. They were housed in the facility’s maximum-security wing.

Palms, 22, was recaptured hours later at a Dollar General store on Lerdo Highway near Highway 43.

Johnson, 24, remains at large. The filing says Johnson and someone on the outside had discussed over the phone how to hotwire a car.

Youngblood told 17 News last week that sheriff’s officials never anticipated someone could get to the roof of the jail, and a review of policies, employees and the facility itself is underway.

The sheriff said among the first questions he asked was why Palms and Johnson were housed together, especially since the two tried to escape from another facility about nine months ago.

Shortly before midnight on Nov. 10, 2017, gunmen kicked down the door of the home of Major’s family and opened fire, killing the boy. His pregnant mother and then-5-year-old brother were wounded.

The shooting is believed to be gang-related. Major’s mother was living with a documented West Side Crips gang member, and both Johnson and Palms are members of the rival East Side Crips.

A third defendant, Myeisha Dale, was accused of driving Johnson and Palms from the scene. Charges against her were dismissed following her death in March.

Dale’s cause of death has not been released.

Anyone with information regarding Johnson’s whereabouts is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 661-861-3110 or the Kern Secret Witness tip line at 661-322-4040. Youngblood said the sheriff’s office is willing to pay for information that leads to Johnson’s re-arrest.

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